An observational study of 19,537 patients admitted to 94 hospitals in 14 countries found that people who used cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins before admission had better outcomes than patients who never took statins.

This benefit occurred only if patients continued statins in the hospital (Article. p. 857). Researchers also found that patients who had not been taking statins but started taking statins in the hospital had far fewer deaths than those who never took statins.

An editorial writer raised cautions about using observational studies to determine the effectiveness of medical therapies. In this study, physicians may have been more likely to start or continue statin therapy for patients with favorable prognoses than for those who were at high risk for death.

Contact: Penny Fuller
American College of Physicians

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